When it comes to eLearning, gamification is a powerful solution to counter low motivation, focus, and difficulties in understanding. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy solution. Refining a gamification strategy can be a bit hit and miss, but its benefits make it more than worth perserving with!
1: Chasing your rewards
One of the worst mistakes to avoid in gamification is focusing too much on the rewards. If the student is just counting stars, or chasing the next level, they may miss the actual intended learning. This is a common error in schools, where students learn enough for the exam and then forget it all. Making the learning enjoyable is crucial, but not losing sight of the endgame is the most important thing of all.
2: Not clearly defining the limits
On a related note, if firm limits are not established it is easy to claim success. ‘Reading more’ could mean a page more or a book more. Defining goal levels more precisely, such as ‘read twenty pages’, helps guarantee focus.
3: Offering the wrong rewards
Sometimes students seem unconcerned about losing a star, or staying a level behind. When this happens it is important to ask: ‘Why?’. Usually, it’s because the reward is not something they want, or because the effort they put in is too much for the reward. In gamification, little and often is the best system.
4: Being too isolated
The best learning is done when people work together. Just as with chasing rewards, when a student is too absorbed in the game they can end up focusing on playing rather than actually learning.
5: Focusing too much on competing
On the flip side, if there is too much focus on the Leaderboard and competing, the students can end up disheartened. Very few people actually enjoy cut-throat competition and putting one another down. Most people prefer gentle competitiveness with an element of fun. Keep it light hearted.
6: Over-complicating it
One of the biggest issues with games, from video games to board games to gamification strategies, is over-complicating things. Establishing forty different classes and levels and creating complex criteria for passing a level is a surefire way of putting students off the game.
7: Forgetting about your eLearning plans
It is a great thing to gamify an eLearning solution, but the course still needs to be easy and fun. Cluttered pages and oddly placed buttons can destroy an experience. Make sure that the eLearning progression is natural and intuitive, so students can advance comfortably.
8: Being too dull
A great part of the enjoyability of mini-games is the attractive design. Bright colors, sleek buttons, fun characters, sound effects, and uplifting music can all motivate students. A game that basically looks like a PowerPoint slide will not capture anyone’s imagination for very long.
Avoiding these gamification mistakes can really improve any gamification technique and boost eLearning potential. If gamification is not working for you or your students, review this list and see if you are making any of these common but detrimental mistakes. A little tweak here and there might be all that is needed.